Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Opposition To Crony Capitalism As Uniting Cause: Resource-Grabbing Mega-Monopolies (Like Atlantic Yards) As Catalyst For Great Recessions/Depressions

(Above, Mayor Bloomberg’s dogs, Bonnie and Clyde join the Occupy Wall Street protesters, another photo, plus explanation, available here.)

The other day listening to an NPR story about what the Occupy Wall Street protesters and the Tea Party ought to both have in common I heard Harvard professor and activist Lawrence Lessig say:
. . . whether you are upset about the size of government or the size of corporations, one thing everybody should be upset about is when corporations use their power to corrupt the government, to reinforce their size and their influence. A critical change in the way in which we've seen America become much more unequal was driven by changes in public policy that was driven itself by [that] kind of influence . . .
So whether, again, you like big corporations or you like capitalism, you and the right cannot possibly defend crony capitalism.
Hmm! When “corporations use their power to corrupt the government, to reinforce their size and their influence . . . crony capitalism.”

Does that sound like the Forest City Ratner Atlantic Yards land grab to reinforce Bruce Ratner’s mega-monopoly that now, through government assistance, is proposed to extend to 50+ acres? (See below.)

And does it sound like previous expressions of Noticing New York philosophy?:
Where does Noticing New York stand on the political spectrum? Noticing New York attempts to apply both conservative and liberal tests of what good government should be. They overlap a great deal more than is generally acknowledged. Conservatives may fear big government and liberals may fear big business, but these days the preeminent problem both should unite to oppose is the collusion of big government to give big business the edge
(See: Wednesday, March 23, 2011, Whither the New York Times? Noticing New York Comment Respecting a Manhattan Institute Sponsored Debate.)
It actually sounds like both of these things. I covered Noticing New York's historical thinking about this commonality* and the NPR story (with links to it) in National Notice here: Monday, October 24, 2011, On NPR, Echo of Coinciding Principles Noticed: What the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street Ought To Agree On. Not surprisingly, Atlantic Yards cropped up amongst the quotes culled from past NNY articles.

(* coincidentally just mentioned in a Noticing New York article about the NYC real estate industry and the antagonistic relationship between free speech and concentrating wealth)

In that article I also wrote about something related: How the deleterious economic effects of such crony capitalism contribute to economic down slide leading to economic depressions or, of perhaps more specific current interest, the Great Recession we are living through now. In this regard, I looked at some commonality of thinking between two writers with recent books syaing much about the underlying causes for the Great Depression. One is a conservative, Amity Shlaes, writing as a historian; the other is a liberal Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman. The books: Ms. Shlaes’ late 2007 “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression”; Krugman’s 2009 “The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008”, a reworking of a 1999 Krugman book.

So both ends of the political spectrum ought to oppose “crony capitalism” where “corporations use their power to corrupt the government, to reinforce their size and their influence.” They ought to oppose such crony capitalism in part because of agreement respecting how such cronyism results in economic downturn or ruin. That’s what each opposite end of the political spectrum ought to be agreeing upon. . . .

. . . Interestingly, on Bill Maher’s latest Real Time show, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was mentioned yet again as a potential third party presidential candidate. Theoretically, the kind of third party candidate we presume Bloomberg would want to be should be claiming a middle ground between the two parties. Despite this presumable commonality at each end of the political spectrum, Bloomberg who portrays himself as being in the middle, is in favor of and practices crony capitalism. How do we know where Bloomberg stands on crony capitalism? You need look no further than the poster child boondoggle: Atlantic Yards.

(The picture of Mayor Bloomberg’s dogs, Bonnie and Clyde joining the Occupy Wall Street protesters? An enticement, I hope, for you to read the full National Notice article on this subject.)

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